By the end of this month, we will have a little more clarity on Montrezl Harrell’s situation. The Los Angeles Lakers center had an up and down first season in purple and gold, culminating in playing just ten minutes per game in the four playoff contests he appeared in.
Harrell signed a two-year contract last offseason to switch sides in Staples Center, with the second year of the deal being a player option. The deadline for Harrell’s decision to opt in or out is July 31st.
According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Harrell is currently leaning towards opting in to the contract which might come as a bit of a surprise after the rough end to the year. But Harrell’s value has tanked in the last two postseasons and it’s possible that he wouldn’t be able to sign for the $9.7 million he could be owed next year. That’s not to mention the Klutch Sports agency connection with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and other members of the team.
For the Lakers, this could be a win as well. Losing Harrell for nothing would not do much for their cap flexibility. Having him opt in could at worst make him into a trade asset – an expiring contract that belongs to a still productive player in the right situations. In fact, there is some speculation that Harrell may opt in with the expectation that the Lakers would help him find a new home in the trade market.
The Lakers have been busy exploring trades with rumors about the futures of Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in LA, as well as those of free agents like Dennis Schröder and Alex Caruso. The first domino to fall will come on draft night – July 29th – when the Lakers hold the 22nd pick. Harrell’s decision will be known two days later at the latest.